Universal Studios Orlando Refillable Cups – The Complete Guide!

Visitors to Universal Orlando have a choice of several refillable cups. These include Universal Orlando Resort refillable cups, souvenir cups and Universal Freestyle cups.

The similarity between Universal refillable cups can confuse first-time Universal Orlando visitors. So, it’s a good idea to look into the differences and benefits of each cup before your trip to avoid wasting money.

What Are The Different Universal Orlando Refillable Cups?

There are three refillable cups you can buy from the Universal Orlando Resort.

  1. Universal Orlando Resort refillable cups
  2. Universal Studios souvenir tumbler
  3. Universal Orlando Freestyle cups

All three of these refillable cups are similar in their concept. Yet, they have terms restricting where or when you can use them.

Universal Orlando Resort Refillable Cups

You can buy a Universal Resort refillable cup at any Universal Orlando hotel. As of 2023, the Universal Orlando Resort refillable cups currently cost;

  • $9.99 for one day
  • $15.99 for three days
  • $18.49 for the length of your stay.

However, you can only fill a Universal Resort refillable cup at the drinks fountains at the hotel. As such, you can not buy or refill a Universal Resort refillable cup at any of the Universal Orlando theme parks.

If you are staying at a Universal Resort and want refills at both the hotel and theme parks, then you will need two cups;

  1. The Universal Orlando Resort refillable cup for refillable drinks at the hotel.
  2. The Universal Freestyle cup for refillable drinks at the Universal Orlando theme parks.

If you stay at a Universal Orlando Resort hotel, a resort refillable cup can be good value for money. However, the Universal Resort refillable cup fountains are only in the hotel lobby. Worse still, the Universal Orlando Resort refillable cups only hold 24oz.

Therefore, if you drink a lot, you may find yourself going down to the lobby several times a day. This long walk, time and time again, can be very frustrating. For this reason, I have never bought a Universal Orlando Resort refillable cup.

Universal Studios Souvenir Cups

As of 2023, there are two different types of Universal Orlando souvenir cups available to buy;

  • A tumbler souvenir cup
  • A character souvenir cup

The structure of a tumbler souvenir cup is similar to a resort and Freestyle refillable cup. However, tumbler souvenir cups are made from thicker plastic, designed to last longer. They also feature (in my opinion) better designs.

A Universal Orlando tumbler souvenir cup costs $28.99 plus tax. This includes the tumbler cup, and unlimited Coca-Cola Freestyle drinks throughout the day. However, this is still $11 more than the Coca-Cola Freestyle refillable cups.

As such, if you want unlimited drinks on a budget, the Freestyle refillable cup is better value for money. However, if you want both unlimited drinks and a practical souvenir, the extra cost may be worth it.

Meanwhile, character souvenir cups are designed to look like a popular Universal character. These include;

  • Minions
  • Bart Simpson
  • Jurassic Park Dinosaurs

The character souvenir cups are currently $18.00 plus tax. However, character souvenir cups only include one free drink. After the free drink, you will have to pay to refill your character souvenir cup at the full menu price.

The price of a drink at Universal Orlando is currently $4.19 for a fountain soda or $6.00 for an ICEE.

Given this, I do not recommend a character souvenir cup for saving money. Instead, character souvenir cups are an excellent Universal souvenir to take home.

Universal Orlando Freestyle Cups

The most popular refillable cup at the Universal Orlando Resort is the Freestyle cup. You can buy and use these cups at all three Universal Orlando Resort theme parks;

  • Universal Studios Florida
  • Universal’s Islands of Adventure
  • Volcano Bay (The Universal water park)

However, you can not buy or refill a Universal Freestyle cup at a Universal Orlando Resort hotel. Thus, if you are staying at a Universal hotel and want refills at both the hotel and theme parks, you’ll need two cups.

  1. The Universal Orlando Resort refillable cup for refillable drinks at the hotel.
  2. The Universal Freestyle cup for refillable drinks at the Universal Orlando theme parks.

Universal Orlando Freestyle cups currently cost $17.99 plus tax. However, discounts are available if you buy several cups at the same time. In 2023, two Universal Studios refillable cups cost $15.99 plus tax (per cup). While three or more Universal Studios refillable cups cost $13.99 plus tax (per cup).

I’ve broken down the mathematics behind the value of a Freestyle cup further down in this post. However, in short, the Universal Freestyle cup is almost always good value for money.

Using Annual Pass Discounts on Universal Orlando Refillable Cups

If you have an annual pass for Universal Orlando, you can get a discount on a Universal refillable cup. This includes any Universal Orlando refillable cup and daily refills.

The exact discount you get on a Universal Orlando refillable cup will depend on the annual pass you have. Learn more about the Universal Orlando annual passes on the Universal Orlando website.

How Do Universal Orlando Refillable Cups Work?

Any Universal Orlando cup that is refillable features an RFID chip inside the bottom of the cup. This RFID chip is embedded within the cup and can not be accessed without cutting the cup open.

When you buy or reactivate a Universal Orlando refillable cup, the RFID chip will be turned on for the day. This is done by the register staff placing the cup on a special machine.

Once your refillable cup has been activated, you are ready to get a drink. You can get a drink with a Universal Orlando refillable cup from a machine or at a counter.

At the drinks machine, you will be asked to place your cup below the drink dispenser. On this surface, there is an RFID chip reader. This RFID chip reader interacts with the RFID chip inside your refillable cup.

Once the RFID chip reader validates the RFID chip inside your cup, you will be able to select your drink of choice.

Alternatively, you can get your Universal refillable cup refilled at a quick-service counter. Here you’ll need to remove the lid from your cup, before passing your cup to the server.

At this time, the server will validate the RFID chip inside your refillable cup. Once the RFID chip is validated, the server will dispense the drink of your choice into the cup.

The drinks at a quick-service counter are limited when compared to Freestyle machines. However, quick-service counters are the only place you can get your cup refilled with an ICEE.

In some cases, the RFID chip inside your cup can become damaged. For this reason, it’s essential to keep the receipt for the purchase of your cup or purchase of your daily refill. You will need this receipt to get the RFID chip inside your refillable cup fixed or get a replacement cup.

Are Universal Orlando Refillable Cups Really Unlimited?

Universal Orlando refillable cups offer unlimited drinks – to a certain extent. 

In the case of all Universal Orlando refillable cups, you can only refill the cup every ten minutes. If you attempt to get a drink before the ten minutes is up, then you’ll be denied and told how long until your next refill.

However, unlimited drinks with a Freestyle cup or a tumbler souvenir cup are limited to the day you buy the cup or refill. For this reason, if you are going to invest in a refillable cup, it’s best to do it at the start of the day.

Universal Freestyle cups and tumbler souvenir cups can also be reactivated. Reactivating a refillable cup gives you unlimited drinks once again, albeit on another day.

To reactivate a refillable cup, take the cup to a drinks counter on the day you wish to reactivate it. The cost of reactivating a Universal Orlando refillable cup in 2023 is currently $10.99 plus tax.

Once the refillable cup has been reactivated, you’ll have unlimited drinks once again. As before, refillable cups are limited to a refill every ten minutes until the park closes. Again, to maximise the value of your refills, it’s best to reactivate your refillable cup at the start of the day.

Meanwhile, Universal Resort refillable cups are unlimited for the number of days you buy. If you buy a one-day package for $9.99, then the cup will serve drinks every ten minutes until midnight on the day you buy it.

However, if you buy the three-day package, you can get drinks every ten minutes until midnight on day three. Meanwhile, the ‘length of your stay’ package offers drinks every ten minutes until midnight on the day of checkout.

Using Universal Orlando Refillable Cups on Future Trips

Since Universal Freestyle cups and tumbler souvenir cups can be reactivated, you can use them on future trips. Bringing an existing Freestyle or a tumbler souvenir cup is a great way to save money at Universal Orlando.

Right now, there is no limit on the age of a Universal Orlando refillable cup. Nor is there a limit on how many times you can reactivate a cup. For example, on a recent trip, I reactivated a Universal refillable cup I bought five years ago.

Sadly, I don’t know if you can reactivate a Universal Orlando Resort refillable cup. If you know any information about this, please let me know in the comments.

Of course, to reactivate a Universal Orlando refillable cup, you need to bring the cup with you. So be sure to add your refillable cup to your Universal Orlando packing list.

Universal Studios Freestyle Cup Drink Combinations

There are more than 100 different Universal Studios Freestyle drink combinations available. The drink combinations are created from a mixture of ‘base drinks’ and flavours.

‘Base drinks’ are drinks such as Coca-Cola, Sprite and Fanta. While flavours include; vanilla, cherry, raspberry, etc.

Every drink combination is available at every Freestyle machine at the Universal theme parks. However, you can only get ICEE drinks from eligible Universal theme park counters.

Using Universal Orlando Refillable Cups For Butterbeer

Butterbeer is one of the most iconic drinks at Universal Orlando. However, you can only buy Butterbeer within the Wizarding World of Harry Potter area. This is Diagon Alley at Universal Studios Florida & Hogsmeade at Islands of Adventure.

However, you can not use a Universal Orlando refillable cup for Butterbeer. Instead, if you would like a Butterbeer drink, then you need to buy it separately. The cost of a Butterbeer at Universal Orlando currently costs $8.49 as of Fall 2023.

There are no Coca-Cola Freestyle machines inside the Wizarding World of Harry Potter. As such, I recommend filling your Universal refillable cup before going to this area of the park.

Using Universal Orlando Refillable Cups For Alcohol

Sadly, Universal Orlando refillable cups can not be used for alcohol. However, you can buy alcohol separately at the Universal Orlando theme parks.

Unsurprisingly, the cost of food and drink at Universal Orlando is high. Especially when compared to elsewhere in Orlando – and the cost of alcohol is no exception. As of Fall 2023, a bottle of beer at Universal Orlando currently costs $10.50 plus tax.

While you can not get alcohol in a refillable cup, you can buy alcohol in a range of souvenir cups. These exclusive beer souvenir cups are available at different locations within the park. These include;

  • Duff Beer Cup – Duff Brewery in Springfield
  • Moes Tavern Cup – Moes Tavern in Springfield
  • Hogshead Cup – Hog’s Head Pub in Hogsmeade

Are Universal Orlando Refillable Cups Good Value For Money?

I have visited Universal Orlando several times over the past decade. This includes trips as a broke student to trips as a more middle-class adult with a child. However, regardless of the budget, I always buy a Universal Freestyle cup.

My decision to buy a Universal Studios Freestyle cup, even when on a strict budget, is a testament to this cup’s fantastic value.

In 2023, the cost of a fountain beverage at Universal Orlando is $4.19 plus tax. While one Universal Orlando Freestyle refillable cup is $17.99 plus tax.

As such, on a one-day visit to Universal Orlando, you need to buy at least five fountain drinks for the Freestyle refillable cup to be good value for money.

However, in 2023, the cost of reactivating a Universal Studios Freestyle drink is $10.99. This reduces the number of fountain drinks required to “break even”.

Take a three-day trip to the Universal Orlando Resort, for example. You buy the Universal Orlando Freestyle cup on day one for $17.99 plus tax. You can then reactivate the cup twice, once on day two and again on day three.

Each reactivation of the Universal Orlando Freestyle cup costs $10.99 plus tax. This brings the three-day cost of a Universal Orlando Freestyle cup to $39.97 plus tax.

Meanwhile, the cost of a fountain beverage at Universal Orlando is $4.19 plus tax. As such, a Universal Freestyle cup needs to be used at least ten times in three days for it to be good value for money.

If you think you will drink less than three fountain drinks a day at Universal Orlando, then a Universal Freestyle cup is not worth it.

You can get free cups of water at both Universal Orlando theme parks, Volcano Bay and CityWalk. You can also fill up a water bottle with free water at any Coca-Cola Freestyle Machine.

Sharing Universal Orlando Refillable Cups Between Friends & Family

There are signs at Universal Orlando that say you can not share a Universal refillable cup. However, pretty much everyone does – including myself.

Personally, I have never been stopped or questioned when sharing a refillable cup at Universal Orlando. However, please do so at your own risk and know that it is against the terms of service.

Of course, when sharing drinks, you must agree on the flavour and be happy sharing a cup with that person(s). You’ll also still have to keep to the ‘every 10 minutes’ refill rule.

Do Universal Refillable Cups Fit In Universal Orlando Ride Lockers?

On selected rides, you are required to put all your belongings in a free Universal Orlando locker. This includes refillable cups.

Rides that require you to put your belongings into a locker are free. However, they also have small dimensions of 14 in x 5.5 in x 16.9 in, with 5.5 inches being the height of the locker. This height is significantly shorter than a refillable cup, which is 7.65 inches tall.

As such, only when placed on their side will a Universal refillable cup fit into one of the free ride lockers. This means that you will need to empty your Universal Orlando refillable cup before going on a ride.

Does Universal Replace Broken or Faulty Freestyle Refillable Cups?

On my most recent trip to Universal Orlando, my Universal Freestyle cup started to leak. The seal between the cup and the lid had broken, causing the liquid to leak as you tried to drink from it.

I’d only had the Freestyle cup for a couple of days, so I took it to one of the service counters at the theme park. Here a staff member replaced my faulty Freestyle cup with a new one, no questions asked. However, I did have to provide the receipt for the daily refill to get this transferred onto my new cup.

While cup and refill faults are rare, I recommend keeping your receipt from the cup or refill.

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